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At the Rink: Lightning at Canucks

by Kevin Woodley

VANCOUVER — Vancouver Canucks right wing Alexandre Burrows agreed playing on the top line with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin again is kind of like riding a bike.

Burrows, who will replace injured forward Jannik Hansen on the No.1 line to start against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, SUN), has plenty of experience playing with the Sedins and knows how to support the identical twins on the cycle.

"Yeah, I think so. The reads are the same, they don't do anything different they are just moving the puck well and using time and space to make plays," Burrows said. "If you get them the puck and go to the net, usually good results are going to happen."

Burrows could use some good results. He has one assist in his past 19 games while playing mostly on the third and fourth lines, and five goals and 12 points in 39 games this season. That's a big drop from his time riding shotgun with the Sedins, when he averaged almost 30 goals a season over a four-year stretch through 2011-12. Burrows, who scored 18 goals playing away from the Sedins most of last season, said it will be an easy transition back to the Sedins' unique cycle game.

"It's not rocket science with them," Burrows said. "You know what they like to do, their tendencies, where they like the puck, where they like to create, so let's get the puck through the neutral zone so Hank can make plays up the middle and once you get into the offensive zone it's use the back of the net, use the half wall and try to pick for each other, support each other and get to the net. That's how we are going to create."

Coach Willie Desjardins wouldn't commit to Burrows sticking with the Sedins long term, but said he would start on the top line. With Hansen placed on injured reserve with an upper body injury after his legs appeared to give out on him during a 3-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday, the Canucks (16-16-9) will need a new top-line winger for at least a week, if not longer, and Desjardins is reluctant to take Radim Vrbata off a second line with Sven Baertschi and Bo Horvat just as they are finding a scoring groove together.

That line accounted for all three goals against the Hurricanes. Horvat has three goals in two games after going 27 without one, and Baertschi has four goals in his past six games.

"I like the look of that second line; we've looked for secondary scoring, now we got it and we'll probably try to stay with that," Desjardins said. "Vrbata is a shooter, Baertschi is a passer, Horvat has good speed, he can push the pace, so you have a little bit of everything on that line, and when you have that you have a chance to be successful."

The Lightning (20-17-4) did not have a full morning skate in Vancouver on Saturday after arriving late following a 3-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers the night before. Both goalies were on the ice working with goaltending coach Frantz Jean, however, and all signs pointed to Andrei Vasilevskiy making his second start since mid-December after Ben Bishop, who has started 15 of the past 17 games, made 26 saves against the Oilers on Friday.

Here are the projected lineups:


Alex Killorn - Valtteri Filppula - Steven Stamkos

Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

J.T. Brown - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Vladislav Namestnikov - Brian Boyle - Erik Condra

Anton Stralman - Victor Hedman

Jason Garrison - Braydon Coburn

Andrej Sustr - Nikita Nesterov

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Ben Bishop

Injured: Joel Vermin (hand)

Scratched: Matthew Carle, Jonathan Marchessault


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows

Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Radim Vrbata

Chris Higgins - Adam Cracknell - Jake Virtanen

Brandon Prust - Linden Vey - Derek Dorsett

Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev

Alex Biega - Yannick Weber

Ben Hutton - Matt Bartkowski

Jacob Markstrom

Ryan Miller

Injured: Jannik Hansen (upper body), Dan Hamhuis (facial surgery), Luca Sbisa (hand), Brandon Sutter (sports hernia surgery)

Scratched: Andrej Pedan, Jared McCann, Emerson Etem

Status Report: Etem, acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers on Friday for prospect forward Niklas Jensen and a sixth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, took part in an optional morning skate Saturday after flying to Vancouver overnight, but won't play against the Lightning. "You always want to put your guys in a situation where they have the best chance to succeed and I think for him to have a day with the group and go through systems stuff helps him," Desjardins said. … Miller is in the lineup for the first time since injuring his groin during a Dec. 20 shootout against the Florida Panthers, and while no decision has been made on when he'll start again, Desjardins indicated he is ready. "I believe if he's backing up tonight, then he is ready to go," Desjardins said. Markstrom is 4-2-1 since Miller was hurt. … Hamhuis, who required surgery to repair his jaw after being hit in the mouth by a slap shot during a Dec. 9 win against the New York Rangers, skated before the team on Saturday wearing a full-face wire cage. Hamhuis lost 10 pounds while his jaw was wired shut and said he will be out until at least after the All-Star Game. Desjardins said he was "a month away."

Who's Hot: Baertschi returned against Carolina after missing two games with a sore neck and scored a goal and added an assist, giving him four goals and six points in his past six games. Horvat has three goals in two games after going 27 without scoring.

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